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India’s genetically modified crop area fifth largest in world

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), GM Crops

Mains level: Growing use of GM crops by farmers and what are regulatory impediments in furthering their expanse


News

Growing demand for GM crops

  1. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), India has the world’s fifth largest cultivated area under genetically modified (GM) crops
  2. This is an indication of demand for GM technology among Indian farmers
  3. India’s entire GM crop area is under a single crop i.e. cotton
  4. This finding was published in ISAAA’s latest ‘Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/ GM Crops in 2017’ report

GM crops under regulation

In India, the GM crops that are under regulatory consideration are:

  • glyphosate-tolerant cotton
  • biotech hybrid mustard

Bt/insect-resistant cotton has already been commercialised

Transgenic mustard has been developed by Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (harbouring three alien genes that enable higher yields through hybridisation)


Back2Basics

International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA)

  1. ISAAA is a non-profit international organization that shares agricultural biotechnology, focusing on genetic engineering
  2. ISAAA documents approved GM crops worldwide and present them in a database available in the organization’s website
  3. The Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology is the information network of ISAAA
  4. The organization releases an annual publication on the global status of commercially approved genetically engineered crops
  5. The ISAAA receives funding from both public and private donors
Genetically Modified (GM) crops – cotton, mustards, etc.

Farm policies off target: study

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct & indirect farm subsidies & minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the study

Mains level: The newscard gives the insight of present Income of Farmers in India


News

Consumers benefited more than Farmers: OECD Researchers

  1. The general perception is that Indian farmers are beneficiaries of major subsidies.
  2. But a new report says the overall effect of policy interventions between 2014 and 2016 is, in fact, a 6% annual reduction of gross farm revenues.
  3. Consumers, on the other hand, pay an average 25% less for commodities as a result of policy interventions.
  4. According to researchers at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Indian think tank ICRIER, government interventions were more consumer-centric than producer-centric.

Particulars of the Report

  1. The report “Agriculture Policies in India”, points that Indian farmers face regulations and restrictions both in the domestic market and international markets — which often lead to producer prices lower than comparable international levels.
  2. While consumers have benefited from the government’s efforts to keep prices low, a poorly targeted, inefficient and wasteful public distribution system means that malnutrition and food insecurity continue to persist, says the report.
  3. The report has several suggestions for policymakers, including reform of market regulations, strengthening initiatives such as eNAM and allowing private players to play a larger role in the sector.

Key Recommendations

  1. It also recommends a strengthening of the regulatory environment governing land issues, strengthening access to credit, especially long-term loans.
  2. It also emphasized for collective-action on groundwater and watershed management and correcting measures such as including electricity pricing, which incentivizes the overuse of water.
  3. With regard to the PDS, the report suggests gradual reduction and a move towards cash transfers and allowing the private sector to manage remaining stock operations.
  4. To make trade work for Indian agriculture, import tariffs must be reduced and export restrictions relaxed to create a more stable and predictable market environment.
Agricultural Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

[pib] Cabinet approves accession to WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996 and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, 1996

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: WCT, WPP, Copyright Act

Mains level: The newscard highlights importance of ratifying these treaties to strengthen our national IPR Policy.


News

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal submitted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry regarding accession to the above-mentioned treaties which extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.

Strengthening National IPR Policy

  1. The approval is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on 12th May 2016.
  2. It is aimed to get value for IPRs through commercialization by providing guidance and support to EPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through the Internet and mobile platforms.
  3. Both the treaties provide a framework for creators and right owners to use technical tools to protect their works and safeguard information about their use i.e. Protection of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) and Rights Management Information (RMI).

Benefits of these Treaties

Meeting the demand of the copyright industries, these treaties will help India:

  1. To enable creative right-holders enjoy the fruit of their labour, through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works;
  2. To facilitate international protection of domestic rights holder by providing them level-playing field in other countries as India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and these treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad;
  3. To instill confidence and distribute creative works in digital environment with return on investment; and
  4. To spur business growth and contribute to the development of a vibrant creative economy and cultural landscape.

 Back2Basics

Copyright Act, 1957

  1. The Copyright Act 1957(wef 21 January 1958) (as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012) governs the subject of copyright law in India.
  2. The Copyright Act 1957 was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India and the law has been amended six times since 1957.
  3. The most recent amendment was in the year 2012, through the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012.
  4. The history of copyright law in India can be traced back to its colonial era under the British Empire.
  5. India is a member of most of the important international conventions governing the area of copyright law, including
  • the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971),
  • the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951,
  • the Rome Convention of 1961 and
  • the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

India accessed as a member of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) in July, 2018.

WIPO Copyright Treaty

  1. It is a Special agreement under Berne Convention (for protection of literary and artistic works).
  2. It came in force on March 6, 2002 and has been adopted by 96 contracting parties till date.
  3. It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment.
  4. Further it recognises the rights specific to digital environment, of making work available, to address “on-demand” and other interactive modes of access.

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

  1. It came in force on May 20, 2002 and has 96 contracting parties as its members.
  2. WPPT deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in digital environment –
  • Performers (actors, singers, musicians etc.)
  • Producers of Phonograms (Sound recordings).

The treaty empowers right owners in the negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors.

It recognizes moral rights of the performers for the first time & provides exclusive economic rights to them.

Intellectual Property Rights in India

Why Hasn’t India Endorsed the Broadcasters Treaty Yet?

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Broadcasters Treaty (BT), WIPO

Mains level: India’s interests attached to BT & IPR scenario in India


News

Non-endorsement of Broadcasters treaty

  1. Nearly 21 years after the commencement of the negotiations on the Broadcasters Treaty (BT), it seems India is still not ready to endorse it
  2. Until recently, the negotiations were stalled primarily due to a political stalemate on key provisions

Recent negotiations

  1. At the recently concluded meeting of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), for the first time in several years, a recommendation to finalise the text of the Broadcasters Treaty was made
  2. The proposal was supported by all major countries, except the US, Japan and South Korea
  3. India did not oppose the recommendation, but it did not actively support it too

Why is this treaty important for India?

  1. India was the biggest loser due to broadcast piracy in the Asia-Pacific region
  2. The proposed treaty on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with disabilities is of utmost importance to India and other developing countries
  3. These proposed treaties are extremely important for ensuring unhindered access to information which is a hallmark of every enlightened society

Way forward

  1. India has one of the most advanced laws as far as the rights of broadcasting organizations are concerned
  2. It is the only country which protects catch-up service of broadcasting organizations – the moot point of the BT
  3. India is either disinterested in the BT or is perhaps still contemplating its position
  4. There is complete harmony between the rights of broadcasting organizations as contemplated under the Copyright Act, 1957 and the provisions of the BT
  5. It is in India’s own interest that it vocally endorses the recommendation to finalise the text of the BT at the upcoming WIPO General Assembly
Intellectual Property Rights in India

India to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 items to APTA members

Related image

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), FTA & PTA

Mains level: India’s trade regime with LDC’s


News

More liberal policy for APTA members

  1. India has agreed to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 products to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, from July 1
  2. These duty concessions will be more for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations

Difference between FTA & PTA

  1. Under a free trade agreement, countries cut or eliminate duties on the most number of goods traded between them besides liberalizing norms to promote services trade and investments
  2. But under a Preferential Trade Agreement, duties are eliminated on a certain number of identified items

Back2Basics

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)

  1. APTA is an initiative under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) for trade expansion through exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the Asia Pacific Region
  2. It is a preferential trade agreement (PTA), under which the basket of items, as well as extent of tariff concessions, are enlarged during the trade negotiating rounds which are launched from time to time
  3. The six member countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka
  4. It is in place since 1975

[pib] India gets its 37th UNESCO World Heritage Site

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts and Culture| Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO

Mains level: India’s rich cultural treasure and ways to preserve it


News

  1. India’s nomination of the “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
  2. The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain today.
  3. This achievement is especially remarkable in the view of the successive inscription of another Indian city after Ahmedabad last year

About the Ensembles

  1. Together, this architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which forms the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world.
  2. The Ensemble consists of 94 buildings primarily of 19th century Victorian Gothic revival and early 20th century Art Deco style of architecture with the Oval Maidan in the centre.
  3. The 19th century Victorian buildings form part of the larger Fort precinct situated to the east of the Oval Maidan.
  4. These public buildings include the Old Secretariat (1857-74), University Library and Convention Hall (1874-78), the Bombay High Court (1878), the Public Works Department Office (1872), Watson’s Hotel (1869), David Sasoon Library (1870), the Elphinstone College(1888), etc.
  5. The Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20th century on the newly reclaimed lands at Marine Drive and symbolised the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.

Criteria for Inscription:

  1. The inscription has been done under Criteria (ii) and (iv) as defined in the UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines.
  2. Criterion (ii) refers to the important interchange of human values, over a span of time on development of architecture, monumental arts, town planning and landscape.
  3. Criterion (iv) refers to being an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage (s) in human history.

UNESCO World Heritage Properties in India

  1. In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
  2. India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites.
  3. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

Benefits of this International Recognition

This achievement is expected to give a tremendous fillip to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia.


Back2Basics

UNESCO

  1. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
  2. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms etc.
  3. UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.
  4. It designates projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as:
  • Global Geoparks Network
  • Biosphere reserves (Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), since 1971)
  • City of Literature
  • Endangered languages and linguistic diversity projects
  • Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
  • Memory of the World International Register, since 1997
  • Water resources management (International Hydrological Programme (IHP), since 1965)
  • World Heritage sites
  • World Digital Library

UNESCO World Heritage Committee

  1. The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  2. It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  3. It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  4. India is NOT a member of this Committee.
  5. Recently, its 42nd meeting in 2018 was held in Manama Bahrain.
Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

World’s hungry population on the rise again, says UN report

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sustainable Development Goals

Mains level: Read the attached story


News

Conflicts, climate change are main hurdles in meeting SDGs

  1. The number of hungry people in the world has risen for the first time in more than a decade, according to a United Nations report released.
  2. There are now approximately 38 million more undernourished people in the world, rising from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, the year for which the latest statistics are available.
  3. According to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2018 report, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries.
  4. Violent conflicts also led to the forced displacement of a record high 68.5 million in 2017.

SDGs at risk

  1. Noting the increasing impact of extreme events related to a changing climate, the report said economic losses attributed to disasters were estimated at over $300 billion in 2017.
  2. While there is little country-specific data in the report, it does examine the performance of various regions in meeting the 17 SDGs, which were adopted by UN member nations in 2015. The deadline to meet them is 2030.
  3. South Asia, which includes India, has seen child marriage rates plunge, with a girl’s risk of getting married in childhood dropping by 40% from 2000 to 2017.
  4. On the other hand, water stress levels for many countries in the region are above 70%, indicating fast-approaching water scarcity.
  5. More than nine out of 10 people living in urban areas around the world are breathing polluted air, with southern Asia scoring the worst in this area.
  6. While electricity and sanitation deficits in south Asia are still poor, the report noted efforts are being made to close the gap.

Sense of urgency

  1. With just 12 years left to the 2030 deadline, we must inject a sense of urgency said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the foreword to the report.
  2. Achieving the 2030 Agenda requires accelerated actions by countries along with collaborative partnerships among governments and stakeholders at all levels.
  3. This ambitious agenda necessitates profound change that goes beyond business as usual.

Back2Basics

Sustainable Development Goals

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 and are to be achieved by 2030.
  2. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
  3. The formal name for the SDGs is: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That has been shortened to “2030 Agenda”.
  4. The resolution is a broad intergovernmental agreement that acts as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
  5. This was a non-binding agreement as a result of Rio+20 Conference held in 2012.
  6. NITI Aayog is set up in line with attaining these SDGs.
Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc.

Why this week’s OPEC meeting matters for India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: OPEC Meetings and their Outcome

Mains level: Effects of rising crude oil prices on Indian Economy.


 News

The world is waiting to see whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decide to increase crude oil production at its meeting to be held in Vienna

Why is this meeting so important?

  1. With OPEC accounting for around 40% of global production, any decision will have a wide-ranging impact on energy markets.
  2. The meeting is also significant as it comes in the backdrop of a supply cut by OPEC and Russia, which triggered a rally in global crude oil prices.
  3. Prices have fallen since then. Also, there are growing fears of a trade war escalation, which may impact global growth.

How do international crude oil prices affect India?

  1. Retail prices of petrol and diesel in India track global prices of these fuels, not crude, but they are broadly linked to crude oil price trends.
  2. Crude oil prices impact India’s oil import bill and trade deficit. Lower oil prices had dramatically improved India’s terms of trade in 2015-16.
  3. A rally in global oil prices had pushed up the average cost of the Indian basket of crude

How did the Indian government respond to high prices?

The government has so far refused to roll back its decision to link domestic and international fuel prices and has said that it is working toward a ‘long-term solution’.

Why is this meeting particularly important for India?

  1. India’s energy needs are mainly met through imports, and OPEC accounts for around 83% of the country’s total crude oil imports.
  2. Oil minister who is scheduled to participate in the 7th OPEC seminar has maintained that India is a price-sensitive customer and will seek reasonable rates as its energy demand grows.
  3. He has also said market fundamentals do not support such high prices

Is Opec alone responsible for the oil market uncertainty?

  1. There have been both internal and external pressures on the grouping.
  2. There has been a rally in oil prices due to factors such as US President Donald Trump pulling his country out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, and Opec and Russia cutting supplies.
  3. In addition, Venezuela’s oil output has collapsed to the lowest since the 1950s and geopolitical tensions have also played a part.

Back2Basics

Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

  1. OPEC  is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations
  2. The 14 countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 73 percent of the world’s “proven” oil reserves
  3. OPEC’s stated mission is “to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry
  4. The OPEC Conference is the supreme authority of the organization and consists of delegations normally headed by the oil ministers of member countries
  5. The Conference ordinarily meets at the Vienna headquarters, at least twice a year and in additional extraordinary sessions when necessary
Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

[pib] Declaration by the Government of Republic of India relating to Article II and III of the Appendix to the Paris Act (1971)

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Intellectual Property Organization, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

Mains level: India’s IPR policy and its compliance with global norms


News

Ratification of the Berne Convention

  1. The World Intellectual Property Organization has notified a declaration referring to the deposit by the Government of India, on October 7, 1974, of its instrument of ratification on the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of September 9, 1886
  2. The Government of India availed itself of the faculties provided for the Article II and III of the Appendix to the Berne Convention
  3. The said declaration shall enter into force, with respect to the territory of the Republic of India, on March 28, 2018

Benefits to India

  1. The Article II of the Appendix would enable the Republic of India to substitute for the exclusive right of translation of a work, which has been published in printed or analogous forms of reproduction, granted by the competent authority, only for the purpose of teaching, scholarship or research
  2. The Article III of the Appendix would enable the Republic of India to Substitute for the exclusive right of reproduction of a work, which has been published either in printed or analogous forms of reproduction, or in audio-visual form of lawfully made audio-visual fixations, to publish an edition which has not been distributed / on sale for a period of six months, except when either the translations is not published by the owner of the right of translation or with his authorization, or when the translation is not in a language general in use in India

Back2Basics

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

  1. The Berne Convention deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors
  2. It is based on three basic principles and contains a series of provisions determining the minimum protection to be granted, as well as special provisions available to developing countries that want to make use of them
  3. The three basic principles are the following:

    (a) Works originating in one of the Contracting States (that is, works the author of which is a national of such a State or works first published in such a State) must be given the same protection in each of the other Contracting States as the latter grants to the works of its own nationals (principle of “national treatment”)

    (b) Protection must not be conditional upon compliance with any formality (principle of “automatic” protection)

    (c) Protection is independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work (principle of “independence” of protection). If, however, a Contracting State provides for a longer term of protection than the minimum prescribed by the Convention and the work ceases to be protected in the country of origin, protection may be denied once protection in the country of origin ceases

  4. India has been the Member of Berne Convention since 28th April 1928
Intellectual Property Rights in India

Germany certain to win UN council seat, but contest in Asia

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNSC, Countries elected (mark on map)

Mains level: India’s claim for a permanent seat at UNSC and hurdles in it


News

UNSC elections

  1. Germany and Belgium are certain to win seats on the U.N. Security Council after Israel dropped out of the race last month
  2. The Maldives, a small island nation that has never been on the U.N.’s most powerful body, was vying for a seat against Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, which has served on the council three times

UNSC structure

  1. The Security Council has five permanent members the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France
  2. 10 members are elected by the 193-member General Assembly for two-year terms
  3. Five countries are elected every year by secret ballot

Uncontested slates

  1. Candidates for non-permanent seats are chosen by regional groups
  2. The only contested race this year is for the Asia-Pacific group’s seat
  3. The other regions have uncontested slates, and their candidates are virtually assured of victory for two-year terms
  4. These are:
  • Belgium and Germany for the Western European and Others group of nations
  • South Africa for the Africa group
  • The Dominican Republic for the Latin America and Caribbean group
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

India not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children, National Commission for Protection of Children

Mains level: Changing pattern of society leading to failed marriages and its impact on children


News

Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children

  1. The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children by parents fleeing a bad marriage
  2. The government has long held the view that the decision could lead to harassment of women escaping marital discord or domestic violence
  3. There has been immense pressure from the U.S. on the government to sign the treaty

Special committee says no to legislation

  1. A committee constituted by the Centre to examine legal issues involved in international parental abduction submitted its report in April, opposing a central provision of the Hague Convention
  2. It said that the criterion of habitual residence of the child, which is used to determine whether the child was wrongfully removed by a parent as well as to seek the return of the child to the country of habitual residence, was not in the best interest of the child
  3. It also recommended setting up of a Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority to act as a nodal body to decide on the custody of the child as well as a model law to deal with such disputes
  4. The government is contemplating assigning the National Commission for Protection of Children the responsibility to adjudicate on such cases along with a judicial expert

Back2Basics

Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children

  1. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  2. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence
  3. The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court
  4. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  5. The Convention does not alter any substantive rights
  6. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard
Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

India’s rank marginally improves in peace index

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Communalism

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Peace Index (GPI)

Mains level: Rising instances of communal violence in India manifested in various forms and its effects on India’s global image


News

India more peaceful

  1. India’s rank has marginally improved in “global peacefulness”, at a time when there is an overall decline of global peace
  2. This is mainly due to an escalation of violence in West Asia and North Africa

Global Peace Index (GPI)

  1. India’s rank has improved marginally in the Global Peace Index (GPI), released by Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)
  2. India’s GPI rank was 137 out of 163 countries in 2017, when the year 2016 was assessed
  3. In 2018, when the year 2017 is assessed, India’s rank moved up to 136
  4. Iceland continues to remain the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008
  5. The IEP, world’s leading think tank that develops metrics to analyze peace and quantify its economic value

Inter-country child abduction: Central panel questions key principle of Hague Convention

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee

Mains level: Legislations and safeguards in India for child safety and their impact


News

Questioning basic principles of the Hague Convention

  1. A committee set up by the Centre to prepare a report on the issue of inter-country parental child abduction has questioned one of the basic principles of the Hague Convention
  2. The committee has argued that the return of the child to his or her habitual residence may not necessarily be in the best interest of the child
  3. There is immense pressure on India from the U.S. to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee recommendations

  1. The Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee was set up last year to suggest a model legislation to safeguard the interest of the child as well those of the parents when an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) marriage goes sour and one of the parents flees from one country to another with the child
  2. It recommended that returning a child to the place of habitual residence may result in sending the child to an inharmonious set-up as well as overlook the fact that a mother is the primary caregiver of the child
  3. The panel has also prepared a draft law to safeguard the interest of the children, as well as those of the parents, particularly mothers

Proposed legislation

  1. The proposed legislation lays various exceptions under which a child will not be returned to the country of habitual residence which are:
  • the best interest of the child
  • domestic violence or mental or physical cruelty
  • harassment against the parent who fled with the child
  • the parent claiming the return of the child was not exercising the custody rights at the time of removal
  • if there is a grave risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm

Inter-Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority

  1. The report also requires the setting up of an Inter-Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority
  2. It will be the nodal body to:
  • decide on the custody of the child
  • mediate between the warring parties
  • order the return of the child to the country of habitual residence

Back2Basics

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

  1. Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  2. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence
  3. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  4. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard
  5. The Convention mandates return of any child who was “habitually resident” in a contracting nation immediately before an action that constitutes a breach of custody or access rights
  6. The Convention provides special rules for admission and consideration of evidence independent of the evidentiary standards set by any member nation
  7. The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983
Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

Accelerate efforts to end rabies: WHO to India, South East Asian countries

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Health Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF, Zero by 30 plan, GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance

Mains level: Various non-communicable diseases and their elimination targets


News

Efforts needed to end Rabies

  1. The World Health Organization has asked India and other South East Asian countries to accelerate efforts to end rabies
  2. The WHO said that rabies causes 59,000 agonizing and painful deaths globally every year, translating to one person every nine minutes, mostly children and the poor

Causes and elimination

  1. Human rabies is caused mostly by dogs
  2. It can be eliminated by
  • increasing awareness about the disease
  • vaccinating dogs
  • making the already available life-saving rabies vaccines, medicines, tools, and technologies affordable and available to all

Fast-track elimination of dog-transmitted rabies by 2030

  1. The global rabies partners comprising the WHO, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNICEF and rabies endemic countries from Asia-Pacific and Africa, shared and deliberated on measures to fast-track elimination of dog transmitted rabies by 2030
  2. The member countries shared initiatives being rolled out as part of the new ‘Zero by 30: The Strategic Plan’, to be launched by the WHO and its partners to end dog-transmitted rabies
  3. These studies were conducted with the WHO support to enable GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance take an informed decision to support rabies vaccines

About Zero by 30 plan

  1. The plan centers on ‘One Health’ approach and addresses the disease in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner
  2. It aims at preventing and responding to dog-transmitted rabies by improving awareness and education, reducing human rabies risk through expanded dog vaccinations, and improving access to healthcare, medicines, and vaccines for populations at risk
  3. The plan calls for generating and measuring impact by implementing proven effective guidelines for rabies control and encouraging the use of innovative surveillance technologies to monitor progress towards “Zero by 30”

Back2Basics

GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance

  1. Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization is a public-private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunization in poor countries
  2. It is a global Vaccine Alliance with the goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries
  3. Gavi brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists
  4. Gavi was launched in 2000
  5. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland
Communicable and Non-communicable diseases – HIV, Malaria, Cancer, Mental Health, etc.

India has to create more formal jobs: World Bank

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Development Report 2019, Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), World Bank

Mains level: India’s informal job sector and urgent need of formalisation


News

Need for formalisation

  1. The World Bank in its draft World Development Report 2019 said in India the pay-offs in the formal sector are over twice as much as in the informal sector
  2. It made a strong case for creating more formal jobs in India

Need of formalisation

  1. Persistent informality and low-productivity employment pose the greatest challenge to developing countries
  2. Informal workers show resourcefulness in handling the constraints they face, but the businesses they run are too small to raise the livelihoods of their owners
  3. Informal firms add only 15% of the value per employee of formal firms
  4. The size of India’s informal sector has remained around 91% despite economic and technological revolution

Other similar observations

  1. In another draft report titled Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) for India released in February, the World Bank said India needs to create regular, salaried jobs with growing earnings rather than self-employed ones
  2. In a report titled ‘Jobless Growth?’ released earlier this month, the World Bank said to keep employment rates constant, India needs to create 8 million jobs per year as it adds 1.3 million to the working-age population every month

Counting informal jobs

  1. The government recently decided to start counting jobs created in the non-farm informal sector
  2. The government has asked the labour bureau under the Union labour ministry to begin counting jobs created in establishments deploying less than 10 people
  3. It means that establishments and shops run by a single owner or with one employee too will be counted as employment generation
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

India helping South Asian countries in developing climate services

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SASCOF, SAARC, World Meteorological Organisation

Mains level: India’s role in neighbourhood


News

India hosts SASCOF

  1. Pune hosted the 12th edition of South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) on April 19 and 20
  2. India has hosted six editions so far

What is SASCOF?

  1. SASCOF was established in 2010 as a platform where meteorologists from South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries along with Myanmar, could discuss some of the common weather and climate-related matters
  2. All these South Asian countries — except for Afghanistan, which is located in extreme northwest — experience common weather and climatological characteristics, like Southwest monsoon
  3. Since 2015, the forum issues Climate Outlook even for the Northeast monsoon

Why such forum?

  1. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) encourages co-operation and establishment of Regional Climate Outlook Forums in every region that share similar weather and climate
  2. WMO has recognised Pune office of IMD as the Regional Climate Centre (RCC)

Role of Regional Climate Centre

  1. Under this, IMD issues a four-monthly forecast with details of temperature and rainfall for the entire region
  2. Besides this, India also extends all kinds of support to them, be it in the form of software or tools required for weather predictions, providing training to meteorologists, providing country-specific forecasts or inviting meteorologists to work in India in order to improve their skills
Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations

India wins elections to key U.N. subsidiary bodies

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, Commission on Population and Development, Commission for Social Development, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), UN-Women

Mains level: India holding key positions at international organizations and its impacts


News

Election to crucial committee

  1. India has won an election to a crucial non-governmental organization committee in the United Nations
  2. It also got elected by acclamation to other subsidiary bodies in five separate polls

About the election

  1. The U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held elections to a number of its subsidiary bodies in United Nations
  2. The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations is a standing committee of ECOSOC
  3. Its main tasks include consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs and consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories

Commission on Population and Development

  1. India was also elected by acclamation to the Commission on Population and Development for a term beginning April 16, 2018, and expiring in 2021
  2. Under its terms of reference, the Commission is to assist the Council by arranging for studies and advising the Council on population issues and trends, integrating population and development strategies and population and related development policies and programmes

Commission for Social Development

  1. The Council elected India and Kuwait (Asia-Pacific States) by acclamation to the Commission for Social Development, filling outstanding seats for a four-year term
  2. The Commission’s purpose was to advise ECOSOC on social policies of a general character and, in particular, on all matters in the social field not covered by the specialized inter-governmental agencies

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

  1. India was among the 17 members elected by acclamation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
  2. The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the U.N. in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice
  3. Its mandate includes improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems

Executive Board

  1. India was among 14 nations elected by acclamation by the Council to the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UN-Women

  1. For the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Council elected by acclamation 16 members, including India
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

UN launches road safety trust fund

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Road Safety Trust FundUN Economic Commission for Europe, Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, Sustainable Development Goals

Mains level: Rising road accidents and measures to curb them


News

Ensuring road safety

  1. The United Nations took a major step to address the tragedy of road accidents by launching the UN Road Safety Trust Fund
  2. This is to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents

About the fund

  1. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will be the secretariat for the trust fund
  2. The trust fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety
  3. Period 2011-2020 has been designated as the Decade of Action for Road Safety

SDGs and road safety

  1. Two Sustainable Development Goals targets deal specifically with road safety
  2. They aim to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  3. Another target aims  to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems as well as improve road safety for all
Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

32 Indians to contribute in report on Climate Change

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Geography | changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies & ice-caps) & in flora & fauna & the effects of such changes.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IPCC, Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)

Mains level: India’s contribution in climate change research and mitigation


News

Indians in IPCC report preparation team

  1. Thirty-two Indians, including seven affiliated with foreign institutions, are among the more than 700 experts selected to contribute to the next assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  2. Five similar reports of IPCC in the past have formed the basis for the global strategy to fight climate change

Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)

  1. The Sixth Assessment Report, or AR6, will be completed in 2021 and is likely to be published in 2022
  2. The IPCC does not produce its own scientific work
  3. The experts selected by it survey all the climate change-related scientific research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals across the world and predict the possible future scenarios from them

Back2Basics

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  1. IPCC is a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations set up at the request of member governments
  2. It is dedicated to the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts
  3. It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly
  4. Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP
  5. The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the main international treaty on climate change
  6. IPCC reports cover the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Opposed to ‘weaponisation’ of outer space: India to UN

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), NAM, Conference on Disarmament, Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty

Mains level: Threats posed by weaponization of outer space and international efforts to stop that


News

Keeping outer space safe

  1. India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict
  2. India has called for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets
  3. This was said at the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)
  4. India attaches much importance to the UNDC as the specialized deliberative leg of the disarmament machinery

New agenda of outer space

  1. Deliberations will begin on the new agenda of outer space – the first in the last 18 years
  2. The group of governmental experts on outer space will meet in Geneva in August later this year
  3. It has been mandated to make recommendations on the substantive elements of an international legally-binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space

Conference on Disarmament (CD)

  1. India has supported the proposal put forward by NAM for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to commence negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention
  2. India has also supported the commencement of negotiations of an FMCT (Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty) in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate

Back2Basics

UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)

  1. In 1952, the UN General Assembly created the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) under the Security Council
  2. The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965
  3. It was created as a deliberative body, with the function of considering and making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and of following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special session
  4. It has a mandate to prepare proposals for a treaty for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments, including the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction
  5. It reports annually to the General Assembly
  6. Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament-related questions, both nuclear and conventional
Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament